Carbon released by thawing Arctic permafrost could be on par with continued emissions from the Unites States this century. But those emissions are still not being accounted for in global carbon budgets—the equivalent of leaving an entire country out of negotiations. This has potentially disastrous ramifications, and means we have to be even more ambitious in reducing other sources of greenhouse gas emissions to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.
Rapid Arctic warming and resulting permafrost thaw are already impacting local communities. Entire villages are facing extremely difficult decisions about where and how they can live in order to protect their communities as land subsides and erodes, threatening homes and infrastructure, and limiting access to supplies and freshwater. But most Arctic countries lack a framework for relocation aid and assistance, and Arctic Indigenous Peoples are often excluded from policymaking discussions.
In partnership with the Arctic Initiative at Harvard Kennedy School and the Alaska Institute for Justice, Woodwell launched the Permafrost Pathways project to address these issues.
At COP27, Woodwell’s Permafrost Pathways team is advocating to:
Wed Nov 9, 15:00-16:30 EEST (8-9:30am ET). Woodwell and Global Choices side event – Intertwined Fates: How the Arctic, Amazon, and Africa are connected and shape our climate future. This event will be live streamed via the COP27 website and YouTube. Learn more.
Fri Nov 11, all day. Permafrost Day at the Cryosphere Pavilion.
Dr. Sue Natali, Arctic Program Director & Permafrost Pathways co-lead
Dr. Brendan Rogers, Associate Scientist & Permafrost Pathways co-lead
Dr. Rachael Treharne, Research Scientist and Policy Lead, Permafrost Pathways
Dr. Jennifer Francis, Senior Scientist, Arctic (not at COP27)
Loss and damage in the circumpolar North
We Must Stop Fossil Fuel Emissions to Protect Permafrost Ecosystems
Thawing Permafrost: Science, Policy, and Environmental Justice in the Arctic (free online course)
The critical missing expense in global climate budgets
What can be done about permafrost thaw?
Woodwell Climate Research Center’s Dr. Sue Natali testifies to House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology
Review of permafrost science in IPCC’s AR6 WG2
Review of permafrost science in IPCC’s AR6 WG1
Impacts of permafrost thaw and wildfires on global carbon budgets
Future reversal of warming-enhanced vegetation productivity in the Northern Hemisphere
Incorporating permafrost into climate mitigation and adaptation policy
Respiratory loss during late-growing season determines the net carbon dioxide sink in northern permafrost regions
Burned Area and Carbon Emissions Across Northwestern Boreal North America from 2001–2019
Permafrost and Climate Change: Carbon Cycle Feedbacks From the Warming Arctic